Generation Y or more commonly known as millennials have always been a peculiar group. They have no precise time in which they began since it’s often argued what the cutoff for a millennial is since many will say 1996 is the last of Gen Y meanwhile others argue that Gen Z starts after 1994.
Regardless of that it is hard to argue the fact that after Generation X, technology became regularly available. Ultimately, newer, more accessible technology leading to a new generation of tech savvy kids who spent their days behind a keyboard rather than outside.
As the first generation to grow up alongside the internet you would think they would be more social since they have millions of topics and people available at their fingertips. However, doing so has harmed their social skills making it difficult to interact with others, which in turn has lead many to feel lonely. That couple with Baby Boomers and Generation X mocking millennials for feeling the way they do, considering the issues they confronted throughout their youth.
However, that isn’t completely fair given each generation has their own circumstances to overcome. The Baby Boomers had to overcome the difficulties following World War II, the Vietnam War and Korean War. This led them to become a group that confronted civil rights protest on a daily basis. Which is what made the Baby Boomers rebel against the social norms of their time. Meanwhile Generation X also, the latch key kids, were the first generation to have both parents working. Since both parents worked Generation X became the first generation to be self sufficient needing to be able to raise themselves as well as there siblings. They then faced hardships in the 1980s because of an economic fall causing them to have to move back home with there parents as adults, discouraging them since they could not measure to the Baby Boomer generation being able to support their families. Millennials now face the difficulty of the digital age and growing up within a society were a computer can control a majority of their day.
Since everything is available to them, millennials live a less private life. Caroline Beaton is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, Vice, and Forbes has written quite a few articles about millennials. In one piece she stated, “It’s not a coincidence that loneliness began to surge two years after Apple launched its first commercial personal computer and five years before Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.”
Social media was created to connect people, but has ended up becoming a main cause of anxiety and loneliness. People treat their profiles as highlight reels of all the good things that have happened to them. “A study from the University of Pennsylvania found a link between social media use and decreased well-being.” People leave out the bad and only show the good things going on. Making others envious what they haven’t done.
Loneliness is something everyone can experience, but no two people can ever explain it the same way. Although we may not be able to explain how it feels to each of us the University of Chicago Medicine released a statement that “Loneliness is a universal condition that makes a person irritable, self-centered, depressed and is associated with a 26 percent increase in the odds of premature mortality.” Sadly “30 percent of millennials say they always or often feel lonely.”
Millennials face difficulties adjusting to their daily lives. Statistically 40 percent of millennials are unemployed. Which is disheartening since compared to other generations they have the best possible education. Even those who are employed have it tough since many are not paid a fair wage. These factors also lead to the other major issue millennials are facing, debt. Millennials have amassed debt either from attempting to become successful entrepreneurs or because of higher education. These factors have all added onto why millennials feel the way they do. However, these are all problems that we all face and if has been found that “loneliness was highest among young adults, declined over midlife, and increased modestly in old age.”
Compared to the Baby Boomers, 15 percent, and Gen X, 20 percent, millennials do have a higher percentage of loneliness, 30 percent, but it should be noted that feeling lonely isn’t something that is permanent. As we mature we realize that things do get better.
We aren’t the same person we once were and we want to make connections so we can create memories we won’t forget. It’s important we remember that since even the Baby Boomers and Generation X were where the millennials once were. Just a group of people trying to figure out how to make it in the world.